Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Three Takes On The Danielson Rubric

I wrote something disparaging about the Danielson rubric in another post and got two interesting takes on it.

The first:

I think that given the current state of affairs in NYS, Danielson's evaluation rubric is the LEAST of the pressing issues confronting educators. I can fully understand the pushback from the teaching field regarding Danielson's model because, in most cases the implementation of Danielson was a "rush job" at best and in the end, it was never properly introduced and teachers (and, administrators) were never properly trained to use the model. Even Danielson acknowledged the improper use of her rubric a few years back during a conference address before teachers in New Jersey.

I DO NOT WORK FOR CHARLOTTE DANIELSON (although, I wish I did ... her model is perhaps the most commonly used today in public schools and facilitators make BIG $$$, I'm sure).

RBE, you talk about the loss of teaching "creativity" because of Danielson. That's unfortunate because in my 5 years of working with the Danielson model our faculty was able to "tweak" and adapt her rubrics in a manner that actually worked MUCH BETTER than our previous evaluation model. No teacher likes to feel boxed in nor do they want to feel that they must constantly teach to a syllabus ... teachers want freedom to teach in the classroom. I totally get that however, I also think that public schools should work locally to develop a meaningful evaluation model: one that is collaboratively-based (not a "gotcha") and one that encourages BEST teaching practice. Obviously, the manner in which many schools "adopted" Danielson did not fully bring those primary stakeholders (teachers/administrators) up to speed so that they could comfortably use the model and feel at ease that Danielson was not going to be used as a "punitive" tool to get rid of teachers and administrators.

I have never met Charlotte Danielson however, I have been trained in the model by her minions and find that when applied correctly, there is a great deal of value in the model. As they say in the automobile industry, "Your mileage may vary."

There is no ONE SIZE FITS ALL in public school education, we know that ALL too well in NYS. However, I think that teachers (and administrators) do need structure and an evaluation system that they understand and feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, Danielson and some of the other evaluation models have been trashed because they were not properly rolled out. It's too bad that this happened simultaneously with the God-awful attempt to force Common Core down our throats.

Perhaps one day (let's hope it comes sooner than later) teachers and administrators will be free to collaborate in a positive learning environment for the sake of kids. Perhaps one day that "creativity" you allude to will return in classrooms across NYS.

The second:

It is easier to achieve canonization than Highly Effective on the Danielson rubric because only two miracles are required.

I tend toward the second take, not the first, but I think the first commenter makes some salient points, especially about the speed with which Danielson and the evaluation system was hoisted upon us.

I still think the best take on Danieslon remains the seminal research done by W.D. Haverstock in his post "The Charlotte Danielson Rubric For The Highly Effective Husband."

If you haven't read that post, do yourself a favor and read it.


  1. They lost me when I realized that the same rubric is used to evaluate the kindergarten art teacher AND the AP physics teacher. That's too broad a brush for me to take seriously.

    1. Amen. They losy me when Danielson deems the teacher less than highly effective because the students do not "exhibit respect for the
      teacher and contribute to high levels of
      civility among all members of the

  2. They lost me when it was obvious it is an evaluation designed for people who have very little experience in the classroom and use it to check off what they don't see instead of what they do and why a teacher does it.

    It's like handing me a Danielson for a surgeon and checking off...

    Didn't call for scalpel loud enough.
    Nurse proximity poorly maintained
    Showed limited signs of accountable talk with anesthesiologist

    Danielson is a checklist, plain and simple.

  3. I wrote the "first take" that RBE shared regarding Danielson. The experience that many educators are having with Danielson is that it is far from the COLLABORATIVE experience Danielson envisioned when the model was created. Folks talk about checklists and having to address EVERY domain. If you read any of Danielson's books she emphatically states that not every element of ever domain is observable during a lesson. Furthermore, the pre-observation and post-observation teacher-administrator conferences (reflections) provide for (when properly structured) a strong collaborative experience for both the teacher and observer. As far as the art teacher vs. classroom teacher comments are concerned ... I am a retired music/visual art administrator and am here to tell you that Danielson is adaptable to ANY classroom / curriculum environment. Unfortunately, the obvious problem here is that Danielson has been rolled out poorly in many, many school districts. The fact that it occurred at the same time as the failed Common Core implementation further takes away from any real opportunity for Danielson to succeed in many schools. That's a shame.

    In the end, it doesn't matter WHAT evaluative model is used in your school district. The fact is that teachers (new and veteran teachers) will always need constructive feedback from experienced and talented administrators as to how the quality of instruction can be improved / enhanced. Administrators must also receive proper training about how their observations can be made that much more effective. This is about the QUALITY of instruction and excellence in the classroom. Teachers / administrators need ample training and there must be a return to sanity in our schools. Let educators do their job!

  4. Danielsons was not created to be an evaluation tool, but rather a reference and educational tool. It is being misused. Additionally, Danielsons functions as a deficit model, i.e. when used as an evaluation tool it has to identify deficits and not the other way around. Therefore, when used for a purpose for which it was not intended it is meant to label the teacher and not to support and thank.

  5. Until Charlotte Danielson herself demands that school systems not use her guide as a be all/end all to teacher evaluations, her silence condones it, and thus creates great profit for The Danielson Group.

  6. She is laughing all the way to the bank. End of story.

  7. I feel that the Daniel system of observation, or "Advance" as we call it in NY, only leads to stressed and unhappy teachers. It has turned a once love career into a job that many teachers cannot wait to leave for the day. Itemizing a teachers observation in many cases leads to micromanaging and for lack of a better word, nitpicking. It is no longer what is in the best interest of the students. It is what the administrator wants to see.